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'Personal Life,' The Thermals 

Not the same Thermals you're used to, but still quite good.

click to enlarge The Thermals
  • The Thermals

The Thermals built a reputation on being loud and lo-fi with a bratty punk rebelliousness. Then Personal Life happened.

Considering the band’s previous two albums have focused on fascist religious oppression and death, respectively, Personal Life’s theme of being badly, deeply, madly in love might seem a stretch. But frontman Hutch Harris delivers the lyrics with such sincerity that everything works. Nothing is over-thought, and it’s all sharp.

Many tracks, like “Never Listen To Me,” are driven by mid-tempo heavy bass grooves one can aurally sink into like an ultra-plush couch.  And, still, the punk-y enthusiasm of “I Don’t Believe You” can’t be topped.

Personal Life doesn’t grab you by the collar and demand your attention in the way previous Thermals records did. It doesn’t feature the same cheeky lyrical wordplay. Maybe they grew out of their old sound. But the new results are so darn endearing it’s hard to fuss.

DOWNLOAD: “I Don’t Believe You”

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